Atheist Republic News Summary: Hajj Pilgrimage Effectively Cancelled

1. Hajj Pilgrimage Effectively Cancelled
Location: Mecca, Saudi Arabia

2. Tel Aviv Allows Same-Sex Couples to Register As Married
Location: Tel Aviv, Israel

3. Report Reveals Global Atheist Discrimination
Location: Worldwide

4. Brazilian Pastor Prays For Second Holocaust
Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

5. Iranian Ayatollah says “Women on Bikes Ignite Men’s Sexual Urges”
Location: Iran

6. Florida Christians Condemn Face Masks
Location: Palm Beach County, Florida

7. Indian State Rules Same-Sex Couples Can Live Together
Location: Uttarakhand, India

8. Iran Supreme Court Upholds Death Sentence For Three Young Protesters
Location: Iran

9. Christian Extremists Insist Homosexuality is Bigger Sin Than Slavery
Location: United States of America

10. Egyptian actor's trans son sued for Instagram post about LGBT+ activist's suicide
Location: Egypt

Video descriptions:

1. This year, due to coronavirus concerns, the hajj is effectively canceled. The Saudi government decided to put health concerns over religious and economic ones. Although the hajj is a major source of prestige and tourism for the kingdom, it was announced that no pilgrims from outside the country could perform the hajj this year in order to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Later, Saudi officials narrowed the order, saying that only about 1,000 pilgrims would be permitted this year — a tiny fraction of the 2.5 million who came last year.

2. The Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality said it would allow cohabiting couples to register their relationship and enjoy marital rights, in a protest of the government’s refusal to recognize same-sex couples or those not wed under the state’s religious authorities. Though same-sex marriage is not technically illegal in Israel, there is no institution authorized to carry it out. “In honor of Pride Week, we decided to challenge the government and allow couples to register on the basis of a declaration,” said the mayor Ron Huldai. He continued, “We hope the government will also enter the 21st century and advance in law the rights of the [LGBT] community — the right to marry, to equal parenting, to protection from hate crimes and workplace bullying and more.”

3. “Humanists At Risk: Action Report 2020,” published by Humanists International revealed mounting evidence that humanist and atheist activists are being targeted on the basis of their rejection of a majority religion or their promotion of human rights, democratic values and critical thinking. The report is largely based on testimony from 76 people in the eight countries surveyed. A range of persecutory tactics are used, including the criminalisation of blasphemy and apostasy, impunity for assaults, as well as social isolation and discrimination.

4. A Brazilian pastor prayed to God to “destroy the Jews like vermin” and bring about a second Holocaust during a sermon in Rio de Janeiro. “God, what you have done in World War II, you must do again, this is what we ask for in our prayers to you: Justice, justice, justice!” Pastor Tupirani da Hora Lores shouted at his church, a small and radical evangelical congregation. Sinagoga Sem Fronteiras, a network of Jewish communities in Brazil, filed a complaint for incitement against da Hora Lores with federal police, which said they were looking into the case.

5. Iranian Ayatollah Ahmad Alamolhoda said in a sermon that Khamenei has said it is forbidden for girls and women to ride bicycles in the vicinity of men to whom they are not related. Alamolhoda said that the purpose of this is to protect women’s honor and to prevent men from having sexual urges. He added that it is the job of the municipalities to establish parks and areas for women’s only exercise. He added: “For a girl to ride a bicycle on the roads in university turns her into a fire that ignites young men’s sexual urges, and it makes universities a center of corruption – this is something we will fight against.”

6. Commissioners in Palm Beach County, Florida unanimously passed an ordinance requiring face masks in public spaces. Some of the people who delivered public comments denounced the decision as an attack on their freedom. One lady accused officials of trying to “throw God’s wonderful breathing system out the door.” Another speaker said the masks are killing people, that the commissioners are obeying “the Devil’s laws”, that they’ll be “punished by God”, that “the 5G” are coming after the people, and that the commissioners should “be in a psych ward. Meanwhile, Florida has seen a record spike in COVID cases this past week.

7. Consensual cohabitation between two adults of the same sex is not illegal or a crime, the Uttarakhand high court observed recently while hearing a petition. Individuals from the same sex might not be competent to enter into a wedlock since the law does not recognize such marriages, but they still have a right to live together even outside the wedlock, justice Sharad Kumar Sharma stated. “It is a fundamental right which is guaranteed to a person under article 21 of the Constitution of India, which is wide enough to protect an inherent right of self determination with regards to one’s identity and freedom of choice with regards to the sexual orientation of choice of the partner”, the court said.

8. Iran Human Rights News Agency reported that the Supreme Court of Iran has upheld the death sentences of three young men who were arrested by security forces during the November 2019 protests. The three defendants in the case, all of them in their twenties, have been accused of affiliation with the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK) which Iran has designated as a terrorist organization but have always denied the charges. Security forces identified Amir-Hossein Moradi from CCTV footage during the protests. He was arrested,  beaten, held in solitary confinement, tortured, and coerced to appear on state-run television to "confess" that he had set fire to banks and gas stations and damaged public property. The two others, Mohammad Rajabi and Saeed Tamjidi, fled to Turkey. Despite producing ample evidence of being in danger for participating in the protests, Turkish security forces deported them to Iran where they were immediately arrested.

9. During his “Breaking News Bible Study” program, Scott Lively (who has been recognized by the Southern Poverty Law Center as forming an anti-gay hate group) was speaking his co-host Pastor Richard May, when May stated that slavery was “unfortunate” but plenty of other things were worse. “There is a perspective in all of this,” May said. “From a biblical point of view, there are things much worse... Now, I’m going to hit a nerve with this one, which is worse: slavery or homosexuality?” “Homosexuality by far,” Lively replied. “By far,” May agreed, “and I think that’s something we need to herald. I mean, come on, guys. Our priorities are all mixed up.”

10. Two Egyptian lawyers filed a lawsuit against Noor Hesham Selim, son of film and television star Hesham Selim, after he posted a video on Instagram in response to the death of exiled Egyptian activist Sarah Hegazy. “It is a conspiracy against Egypt to give up on our culture and morals and let homosexuality spread among young people,” Ayman Mahfouz, one of the two lawyers who filed the lawsuit. “Strict action” should be taken against people who seek to destroy Egyptian values and religious beliefs, he added.While homosexuality is not outlawed in Egypt, it is a conservative Muslim society and discrimination against LGBT+ groups is rife, with gay and trans people facing instances of assault and torture, according to Human Rights Watch.

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